Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Today's finals (07.27)

9 finals, 7 streamed on Asahi, 3 from yesterday's postponements.

Saitama - 2000 PDT (Asahi)
  • ⑤~⑧ Seibou Gakuen v ①~② Hanasaki Tokuharu
It's kind of ridiculous that Hanasaki Tokuharu now has gone 5 games without giving up a run, the most recent which being a 5-0 blanking of Kasukabe Kyouei.

A good part of that is ace Takahashi Kouya (高橋 昂也) who didn't even give up a hit in the 2 games prior. Now, his record at Koushien is mixed at best, but Saitama isn't all that strong it seems, so he doesn't need to be 1st round draft material. Seibou Gakuen has definitely had their struggles in recent games, so they are probably under pressure right off the get go.

Nishi Tokyo - 2100 PDT (Asahi)
  • ① Toukaidai Sugao v ② Hachiouji
Wow, so the top 2 seeds made it all the way. And it wasn't a cake walk either. Toukaidai Sugao defeated Nichidai Tsurugaoka, Kokugakuin Kugayama and Nichidai-san. That's not a bad who's who there.

When I looked at the brackets, I looked at Hachiouji's 2 seed and cocked my head to the side because while they have been a solid Tier 3 school, a 2 seed seemed rather high. But while their list of defeated teams isn't as impressive, it does include wins over Waseda Jitsugyou and Souka.

Even still though their status as a Tier 3 school means that they cannot be favored to win against a school like Toukaidai Sugao.

Shizuoka - 2100 PDT (Asahi)
  • Fukuroi v Tokoha Kikugawa
Tokoha Kikugawa has 2 year span where they were as dangerous as an Osaka Touin, reaching the finals twice and semifinals once in 2007-2008. After that though, the kinda fell off the map, re-emerging only in 2013 and reached the round of 16 both times in both tournaments. They have not really been challenged on their way to the finals, and should be considered the favorites. This especially since Fukuroi advanced while giving up 10 runs to Hamamatsu Shougyou.

Ishikawa - 2100 PDT (Asahi)
  • (S) Seiryou v Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa
Sadly for Komatsu Ootani, they couldn't keep up with Seiryou, and perhaps their time as a title contender is slowly passing them by. Unless they can continue to reload the ranks like a team like Seiryou can, their one chance for Koushien may have passed them by...

Yuugakukan will not be able to defend their title as they were unable to stop the Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa offense, yielding 8 runs. What they did to, was to dent the pitching for 5 runs, something none of the other schools were able to to do. And with Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa using a committee of pitchers, one wonders if it is finally hitting its limit. And Seiryou will certainly be a big test.

Fukui - 1800 PDT (Asahi)
  • Fukui Shougyou v Hokuriku
Fukui Shougyou was able to beat Okuetsu Meisei comfortably in the end, but did trail 2-0 after 4. So it wasn't a wire-to-wire win.

I thought Sakai would make things tough for Hokuriku, but instead it was the other way around as Hokuriku never trailed in their 5-1 victory.

I'm puzzled now. I think Fukui Shougyou is still the favorite, but there's a lot of question marks about Hokuriku that in the end may amount to a whole lot of bupkis.

Shiga - 2030 PDT (Asahi)
  • Oumi v Takashima
That bump in the road became a flat tire for Shiga Gakuen, as while they led 1-0 early, Oumi would score 6 unanswered runs to win 7-2.

Takashima defeated Shiga Tankidai Fuzoku 3-1 to reach the final, but it really didn't help me at all figure them out. At this point I think it's all on their ace Nishimura Tokiwa (西村 常) to hold down the fort. I don't think Takashima can win a high scoring game, so he'll need to throw donuts onto the scoreboard.

Tottori - 2100 PDT (Not streamed)
  • (S) Sakai v Yonago Shouin
Tottori Jyouhoku, who has had the most success in recent years (but not at Koushien, though no one really has), was upended by Sakai. Yet ace Ajito only struck out 1 while walking 5. In fact, the game before that they K'd 2 and BB'd 8, and the game before that struck out 0 and walked 6!

How does that make any sense?

And what's even more puzzling is that Yonago Shouin is better, but not much so. Their last 3 K/BB rates were 6/6 and 3/5 and 8/5!

How do you even pick a winner?

Kochi - 2100 PDT (Not streamed)
  • (S) Meitoku Gijyuku v Nakamura
Meitoku Gijyuku is on the verge of their 7th consecutive appearance, this after holding on to defeat rival Kochi Shougyou 2-1. That was their only tough game so far.

Standing in the way is Nakamura, who is looking for their 1st. The results for the most part have been good, including a 6-4 win over Kochi, but with Meitoku Gijyuku dominating for so long, Nakamura will have much more to fight a mental game as well.

Miyazaki - 2105 PDT (Asahi)
  • (S) Nichinan Gakuen v Miyazaki Shougyou
Nichinan Gakuen is looking for a spring-summer appearance and has looked for the most part dominating in each of their 4 games. This compared to Miyazaki Shougyou who does carry a win against Miyazaki Nichidai, but whose games have been much closer. There just isn't enough there though for me to tip the scales away from the favorites though.

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